The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59082   Message #940196
Posted By: Don Firth
25-Apr-03 - 04:45 PM
Thread Name: Bruce Springsteen and the Dixie Chicks
Subject: RE: BS: Bruce Springsteen and the Dixie Chicks
I watched PrimeTime last night and I came away with mixed feelings about the concept of "Proud to Be an American."

I am proud that there are people around who will stand up for what they believe, like Natalie Maines and her cohorts. They may have been a bit surprised at the storm Natalie's comment made, but she merely expressed a sentiment that a lot of Americans were feeling (and still feel). I think she stumbled a bit by apologizing for the remark, but on last night's interview with Diane Sawyer, I'd say she recovered nicely from that stumble. I can't remember her exact words, but it was something like how she respects and supports all troops who fight, and have fought, to maintain our freedoms—such as freedom of speech—and as an American, it would be unpatriotic of her not to make use of that freedom. Bingo, Natalie! Right on! These women are not the air-heads that some people like to assume, and judging from last night's interview, they're sticking to their guns.

I am not proud of the ferocity of the savage, hate-filled reaction of a large number of so-called "good, patriotic Americans." Boycotting and threatening radio stations that play their music, throwing their CDs on the ground and stamping on them, and going so far as to make death threats. Like somebody saying, "I know where Natalie lives! Let's go down there and straighten her out!" And having to have security guards and metal detectors now whenever and wherever they perform. That's real American, that is! As American as a good old fashioned lynch mob. [If daylia, who started the "Violence is the American Way?" thread and got thoroughly trashed for it reads this, or if she saw some of the anti-Dixie Chicks activities on last night's show, it will add a bit of support to her body of statistics that so many people seemed to find so offensive.] Seeing Americans behave that way does not make me very proud to be an American. I think I have a rough idea of what Natalie was feeling when she made her remark.

Very much to the point:— another program I watched last night, prior to PrimeTime, consisted of a pair of speeches to the American Bar Association on "Security and Privacy in the U. S." This was on CSPAN-2. The first speech was by Christina Wells, Professor of Law at the University of Missouri. The main thrust of her remarks dealt with un-Constitutional stipulations in the Patriot Act and the forthcoming Patriot Act II. Then she went on to discuss past and present policies of government repression of dissent. She compared the attempts by the Bush Administration to label anyone who criticizes them as unpatriotic, un-American, or downright treasonous with similar attempts during the McCarthy Era to say the same things about anyone who was critical of McCarthy's investigations and imply that such critics probably had something to hide. The second speech was by Geneva Overholser, a Journalism Professor, also at the University of Missouri. She gave illustrations of how the American media treat the war in Iraq as if it were a sports event, giving play-by-plays, frequently interviewing the coach and the players, and generally cheer-leading rather that actually reporting a war. She compared this with the news media of other countries who reported things objectively, with no particular effort to sanitize it or "filter it and make it mild." Fox News Channel, she pointed out, was the main cheer-leader for the Bush Administration, doing such things as showing a picture of the heads of state of France, Germany, and Russia, and captioning it "the Axis if Weasel."   [Now, there's a real foreign relations coup—very newsworthy, that!]. She also gave instances of the Justice Department (Ashcroft) leaning heavily on the media (reporters from uncooperative news agencies could be denied access to press conferences) to get them to soft-pedal any reporting of peace marches, peace vigils, and other expressions of dissent (which, sources on the internet indicate, are going on regularly all over the country, but are being ignored by the media). Overholser's general thrust was that the American news media is crumpling under pressure, rolling over to have its tummy scratched, and simply not performing its job. Bye bye, informed electorate!

Perhaps there should be a Justice Department investigation of the University of Missouri. Obviously, it's a hot-bed of un-Americanism.

By the way, local radio stations here in Seattle hesitated for a brief moment when the anti-Dixie Chicks movement hit the fan, but then they decided to go ahead and play their stuff anyway. There were no repercussions. Tower Records says their CD sales in this area is up. And they'll be doing a concert here in June. I'm beginning to think this backwoods community up here in the Northwest is fairly enlightened after all!

Don Firth